Basic Supplies you will need to house your pet:
· Enclosure: at least a 40 gallon “breeder” style enclosure. The bigger the enclosure and the more floor space provided, the better.
· Basking bulb: Providing an adequate basking temperature for your animal is important. Room temp, enclosure style and enclosure size all factor into how high of a wattage of basking bulb you will need. Start with a lower wattage bulb and work up in wattage until appropriate temperature is achieved, or get a higher wattage bulb and hook it up to a thermostat/dimmer to achieve proper temperatures. Basking temps should be maintained at around 105-110 degrees. “Cool” side should be around 80 degrees. Watch your animal. If your animal isn’t basking, your basking area may be too hot. If your animal is constantly basking and never moves away from its basking area, your enclosure is too cold for the animal’s preference. Each animal is different and has different preferences.
· Timer: Its extremely important to have a consistent light schedule for your animal so it doesn’t go off feed. A 12 hour on/ 12 hour off cycle works great.
· UVB: Linear florescent UVB and fixture. Your UVB should span about ½ of your enclosure total length. We recommend Zoomed Reptisun 10.0 High Output bulbs. Bulbs need to be changed every 6-8 months for optimal UVB output.
· Basking platform: Its important to have a solid flat/semi flat surface that can absorb heat under your basking bulb, that your animal can easily fit its entire body on to. We use a flat piece of granite or slate under the basking bulb. Branches and/or cork should also be used to provide cooler surfaces for your animal to sit on. Make sure your décor is secure and will not fall on your animal.
· A way to check your temperatures: Digital probe thermometer for your “cool” side (side opposite the basking area) and an infrared temp reader that you can read your basking area with.
· Substrate: If this is your first dragon, we recommend using a solid substrate that is easily changed out for your convenience and the cleanliness of the enclosure. Newspaper and paper towel are the easiest to work with. People also use tile, shelf liner, reptile carpet, sand-textured mats and butcher paper. When you are comfortable with your husbandry and confident in your knowledge of your animal’s requirements, loose substrate can be used. We recommend children’s play sand, or a mix of sand and soil. Calcium sand, crushed walnut, and colored sand marketed for reptiles should be avoided.
· Supplements: supplementation of vitamins and minerals is extremely important. A quality calcium with D3 should be used, as well as a quality vitamin supplement. We use Miner-All Indoor calcium supplement for all of our dragons, and Herptivite Vitamin Supplement. We suggest using calcium every feeding, and vitamin supplement 2-3 times a week.
Feeding and general care:
Baby dragons require quite a bit of protein in order to grow properly. We feed small, frequent meals to our hatchling and juvenile animals. Ideally, babies should be fed 3-4 times a day, 8-10 size appropriate insects per sitting. Throw 2-3 insects in at a time, and remove any excess after feeding. Loose feeders in an enclosure can stress your animal out. We also provide mixed spring greens dusted with calcium. Your baby may not eat a lot of the greens and simply pick at them. This is perfectly fine and normal. Continue to offer them, it’s important for hydration.
Provide your animal with a variety of live feeder insects. Crickets, super worms, mealworms, black soldier fly larvae, feeder roaches such as dubia etc. are all great feeders. When feeding mealworms and super worms, only offer 2-3 at a time, offering less overall in a feeding to avoid regurgitation. I cannot stress enough how important feeding size appropriate feeders to your animal is. The general rule for new keepers is no wider than the space between the animal’s eyes, and no longer than the animals head length. For instance, size appropriate feeders for 6-8-week-old dragons are ¼ inch crickets, small dubia, small/medium soldier fly larvae, and micro super worms. Try to avoid only feeding one feeder. Each feeder has its benefits and its drawbacks. Your animal will thrive with variety.
House your animals separately. Bearded dragons are not social animals, they don’t need friends. They compete for resources and will fight. This can lead to serious injury. Larger animals have been known to eat smaller ones. Dragons are extremely prey driven, and anything smaller than them is a potential meal. In order to make sure your animals are getting everything they need to grow and thrive, 1 animal per enclosure is advised. Cross species cohabitation is also not recommended.
Soak your dragon once or twice a week in room temp water up to its “elbows” to provide additional chances for hydration. This also helps keep your animal clean and free of feces on its feet and belly.
It is recommended to take your pet at least once a year for a “well dragon” visit with your local vet that has experience and the means to see and treat reptiles. A fecal test will be done to make sure your animal does not have an overgrowth of parasites, and the overall health of your animal will be assessed. This is especially important to do in winter, as your animal once it reaches adulthood has a chance of going down for reptile hibernation, referred to as brumation. If your animal is exhibiting symptoms of illness such as loss of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, loose watery stools that smell sour, or your animal is very young and exhibiting signs traditionally associated with brumation, please schedule a vet visit to assess your animal’s condition.
Bringing Your New Pet Home:
Make sure that your animal’s enclosure is set up properly, and you have everything you need to help your animal grow and thrive with you. Your husbandry is extremely important. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us through email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/phantomdragonsinc
Your new animal can take a week or two to settle into its new environment. Limit handling for the first few weeks to only when you need to clean the enclosure or offer a soak. Your animal may act scared and hide or run from you and may go off food in its new environment. This is normal behavior. Be patient with your animal. Offer food in small amounts. Drop insects into the enclosure to stimulate a feeding response. Offer greens every day. Take your time with your animal and don’t force interaction. If you notice anything off or anything concerning, do not wait to contact us. We are more than happy to offer you assistance. There is no such thing as a “bad” question. We are here to help!
Enjoy your new pet!
Josh & Tracy
Phantom Dragons, Inc.